Oct 21, 2018

2nd Day of Brewfest, CY 580 - Round 2 with the hill giants

The party ran through the double doors from the hill giant's hall and into the courtyard, shutting the wizard-locked door behind them. They decided to run up into the watch tower to take a break and discuss their next steps. While up there, Cadwin and Sarril were able to cast a few healing spells on the fighters, giving the party a fighting chance. Feeling strong now, they decided to rush back in and finish the job they started, before the giants could heal up and regroup.

Dalron took a peek behind the double doors to look down the hall and he saw two hill giants in armor, carrying swords and talking to a third hill giant in much nicer armor, carrying an even nicer sword. This giant was fairly handsome, especially for a hill giant, and not at all out of shape like the others. This giant spotted Dalron peeking through the doors and decided to call him out. "Are you your party's champion!? Come face me alone, one on one." Dalron shut the door as the giant called out that he was a coward. The party decided to make a hasty retreat.

Unfortunately, the time spent in the tower was long enough that four remaining ogre guards, led by two hill giants, were able to leave through a side door and come around to the front. They were intending to chase the party down the road, but were able to determine they were in the courtyard and approached the entrance. As Pontus opened the door to escape, he was met with two of the ogres who immediately attacked. The ogres were easy, but the two hill giants behind them took longer to bring down, giving the three hill giants inside time to go around the wizard-locked door and approach them at the rear. While the party struggled to finish off the last giant in front of them, they sustained a volley of boulders being thrown from behind. They were able to finally bring the last one down and break into a full run (with Cadwin, of course, turning into a bat). Sarril stopped just outside of the doors, however, balancing on some of the rocks beside the road. When the two giants emerged and prepared to throw more boulders at him, he started to prepare the Meld to Stone spell. One rock crashed nearby - miss. Then another rock crashed nearby - second miss. Then Sarril flipped the birds and disappeared into the stone. The two confused giants stared at the rocks, trying to figure out where Sarril went as the rest of the party ran as fast as they could down the road. Shortly thereafter, the handsome giant emerged and yelled at the other two "Nevermind him! Kill the others!" At which point, they threw some more rocks at the party, but the rest of the party was soon out of range and disappearing into the wilderness.

Having a druid, a barbarian and a ranger pretty much guarantees the party will have an easy time out of doors. They easily found a small cave where they could safely hide while they heal up and figure out their next move. They decided to spend two days resting before heading back. The first day was to maximize healing and the second day to prepare their next assault. They decided on return to approach the compound under the protection of an Invisibility 10 ft Radius spell, bringing a summoned fire elemental and earth elemental in tow. They sent both elementals at the front door, while they all headed to a side door. Although the remaining giants were now fully armed and armored and keeping watch, they still weren't quite prepared for this. Boulders were useless against the elementals that require magical weapons. They did see the handsome hill giant and several more come out another side door and head over to confront the elementals, guessing that it is possible he might be able to handle them, but even so, it will be a distraction long enough for them to get inside and explore the place. For the most part, they had unfettered access.

The first thing they discovered was a kennel full of 14 dire wolves. Cadwin cast animal friendship on one of them and tried in vain to have it convince the others to join the party (the selected wolf was, unfortunately, not the alpha). They decided to keep the dire wolves locked away and come back later after exploring the rest of the fortress. As they made their way in, looking into empty storage rooms, dining rooms with some raid maps and other papers (which they collected) and a kitchen where some hill giants were cooking a meal, they started to smell smoke. After a few more turns of searching, the smoke was getting stronger. It was clear that the fortress was now on fire.

As they continued to explore, looking for the chief's bedroom, they came across some stairs going down and decided to take them. This led, unexpectedly, to a lower level dungeon with many passages. Following one of the passages east led to a hall full of dungeon cell doors, with bugbear guards keeping watch. Still under the invisibility spell, the party slipped past, following the sounds of hammers on metal coming from the end of another hall. There they saw six dwarves chained to forges making giant sized weapons. Directing these dwarves was another dwarf in plate armor wielding a vicious battleaxe. Guarding the room were two fire giants with flaming swords. The party decided this is where they would drop the invisibility and get into a fight. While still invisible, the party moved into a semi-circle around the dwarven task master. With Cadwin facing north and Sarril facing west, they both unleashed a lightning bolt at the same time, one at each giant, criss-crossing in the middle to get a double hit on the dwarf. The dwarf failed both saving throws and the damage was devastating. As the dwarf stood, clinging to his last breath, he swung twice at Sarril, making him feel the full force of his axe before Pontus appeared and finished him off. Now the party only had the two giants to worry about.

The good news about the fire giants is that they only attacked once per round. The bad news is that they never missed, and they did about 25 points of damage per hit. They also had 80 hit points a piece, so even with all of Dalron's giant-killing bonuses, it took a few rounds to bring them down, during which Pontus took a lot of damage. After killing the giants, the party started to heal themselves up and free the chained dwarves, at which time four bugbears appeared at the end of the hallway. Sarril immediately threw a fireball, killing three of them as the fourth started to run away. Dalron threw a dagger into its back, dropping it before it reached the intersection and alerted more guards.

The party learned from the dwarves that this dungeon houses orc slaves that the giants use as labor. There were another three rooms down this hallway that contained 48 orc slaves that were ready to turn on their masters. The party decided to give them the bugbear's weapons and send them on their way. After opening a few more cell doors and adding to their numbers, the orcs charged ahead to the bugbear guard quarters where a massive fight broke out. The party used the distraction as an opportunity to explore some more of the underground passages.

One hallway led to a passage that was walled off by boulders, which the dwarves said the giants walled it off for some reason. The dwarves stated they had seen troglodytes at one time, so the wall was most likely something erected to keep them at bay. Another hallway led to smaller 10x10 jail cells, one of which held a crazy man and another of which held an elf who claimed to be part of an adventuring party that came after the giants but got captured instead. The rest of his group now dead, he would be very happy to join the heroes if they would have him. Dalron decided he could not be trusted, and sent him to hang out of the freed dwarves.

One room opened up into the quarters of what the party assumed is the hill giant torturer, based on a torture chamber they had come across earlier. As Pontus opened the door, he was immediately jumped by two carnivorous apes who started tearing into his flesh. The apes were brought down soon enough, but their master, a wicked old hill giant, hunched over with only one eye, followed right up. He carried an especially sharp axe that he was able to do a lot of damage with. Pontus stood toe to toe with him in the doorway to protect the rest of the party while Dalron did his thing with throwing daggers. The fight was over soon, but the party was starting to feel a bit rough and decided to go back upstairs and out so they can rest up.

Heading upstairs, they quickly became overcome by smoke from the fire. The fortress was fully engulfed at this point. They had to turn back downstairs and look for another way out. Aside from the blocked passage, there were still two more unexplored passages to check. The first led to a cistern which the party decided was best not to investigate. The second had several branches, each of which led to a dead end where it looks like laborers had been recently digging - for what wasn't quite clear. A few of the dead ends widened out into large rooms and in one of the rooms was the giants from the kitchen taking refuge from the fire. The party left them alone and moved on.

This is where we left off. It is the 4th day of Brewfest, CY 580, and the party has to decide whether to find a way past the blocked passage, or wait things out down here until the fire burns out upstairs.